Airlines promote a first-class cabin. Hotels tout the concierge level.
Gaming has its own realms of perceived exclusivity, with star performers like advanced kiosks. This sector has multi-dimensional clout.
One element is the generic branding of the kiosk regarding its durability, deployment and streamlined gaming services. Another is the upgraded software improving its functionality.
Both areas spark this valued ambassadorial arm of casino operations.
Kiosks continually evolve. They have spanned the service realms of hotel check-ins, food ordering, cash dispensing and sports betting. They can be wall-mounted, stationed in a lobby or placed in space-saving, high-traffic areas.
Recent advanced kiosk innovations include software connecting signups, registration and loyalty rewards. This casino niche doesn’t fade out over time. It always improves.
Hardware Meets Software
Everi has turned kiosk functionality into a science—the company is known both on the hardware and software ends of the business.
“An advanced kiosk harnesses the power of both hardware and cutting-edge software with a focus on features that automate the customer journey,” says Darren Simmons, Everi’s executive vice president and fintech business leader. “It’s all about taking the processes that would have historically required the intervention of an attendant and leveraging technology and security to deliver solutions to automate operator needs.”
Victor Newsom, Everi’s senior vice president of product management and payment solutions, says another measure of an advanced kiosk is its ability to bring several customer journeys to a single unit without losing focus on that unit’s purpose.
“For example, our high-throughput, self-service financial services kiosks, like the CXC family, handle tens of thousands of transactions a month (over 50,000 in many cases) across a wide array of transaction types,” he indicates. “This clearly shows how the product team keeps simplicity, customer conveniences, biomechanical design, user interface and transactional flow all top of mind when delivering 10-15 different options without degradation throughout.
“From the standpoint of software, an advanced kiosk means ‘multi-function,’” he adds. “It’s not a single-use device. Everi advanced kiosks have added a multitude of solutions onto a single platform and have leveraged it to provide both financial and non-financial solutions. The architecture of the device is set up to allow for additional features and functions to be added as the industry changes without having to add additional hardware infrastructure.”
Simmons cites Everi’s new mobile enrollment flow as an example of an advanced kiosk. An operator can provide a cure code or a website and patrons can use their own phone to do a completely regulated enrollment into loyalty or other systems at the casino.
“It’s utilizing all the same services that Everi uses for enrollment, but now a patron can actually do so from their own mobile device,” he says.
Market demand has grown for the advanced kiosk. Simmons says the mobile era has created the biggest uptick.
“Five years ago, operators were focused mainly on operational efficiencies,” he indicates. “I think that those same operators are starting to recognize the convergence of the digital and physical channels and looking to push the envelope with the latest technologies being available to their patrons in a self-service capacity, while they continue to formulate a digital strategy.
“The handoff to mobile is the biggest difference from what I’m being asked versus five years ago.”
The switch has brought customers into the flow. Mobile technology has been able to address specific functions.
“From an operator perspective, it used to be ‘I need everything under the sun’ on a single kiosk,” he asserts. “Now, it’s more focused on what we can offload to a mobile experience that the customer can take on their own. So, it’s a breakdown of what features make more sense with the customer in front of them, touching a piece of hardware, and which flows make the most sense where the customer walks away and handles it at a different time.”
Newsom says operators ask how to help patrons do more, while the staff does less and saves money. Everi also looks at sustainability, brand identity and ease of use.
Setting Kiosks Apart
“The kiosk should be viewed as an ecosystem,” Simmons says. “Hardware and software should be in symphony with each other. Durability absolutely is important, but functionality, extensibility, capacity and security are equally important attributes. All play key roles in the ecosystem.”
“We also look at sustainability, brand identity, ease of use,” Newsom indicates. “We look at where the kiosks will go, how they are sourced and maintained, and how those can change in the coming years.”
Newsom says the company performance-tunes its software to the hardware it has. It’s a similar approach to what Apple does, which is why they’re good at what they do, he asserts.
Everi has a solid lineup for this market sector—the CXC 5.0 family is Everi’s flagship line of financial kiosks, according to Simmons.
Offering full integration with other Everi fintech products like CashClub DCCA/CCA, Everi Compliance and the robust CashClub Wallet with touchless $ToGo functionalities, the new kiosks give properties a chance to move cage-based transactions to the floor.
The kiosks maintain their functionality like ATM, ticket redemption, amd currency exchange, along with new features like QuikTicket, access to crypto asset value and Visa quick deposit of gaming tickets back to a U.S. bank account.
“Building on a best-in-class ticket redemption and bill breaking kiosk, the available form factors provide operators with a fit that meets the needs of their business while allowing them to provide an unparalleled suite of financial transactions to their patrons,” Simmons asserts.
Newsom, referring to the CXC 5.0, says, “Remember that they support 10-15 transaction types today, and more are contemplated all the time. We support marketing options and different form factors.
“For an advanced kiosk at a gaming table, we have a Concierge Hub,” he continues. “For an advanced kiosk in more of a retail setting or needed at the end of a slot bank with both marketing and loyalty as well as payments, we have the Prelude kiosk with payments and ticket.”
The 5.0 is the hardware, which doesn’t change, he says. But customers can buy that to be a ticket redemption and bill-break machine, then add onto it if they want.
“As far as any of the other functions that we offer on that product, all the software’s already built in, so we can activate any financial services feature that a customer asks for,” he adds.
Both Simmons and Newsom find compelling characteristics for the product. Each touts a different element.
“It’s pretty cool that we’ve built our software to be modular to match with the hardware,” Simmons indicates. “That goes back to giving operators what they need now, but also anticipating where the market is going and offering the ability to easily add our other solutions.”
“That extensibility vertically, in terms of types of service, also extends horizontally across what we call the ‘Digital Neighborhood,’” Newsom says. “This is the fully integrated digital fabric connecting Everi products across and beyond the floor, that enables and empowers both patrons and casino staff members.”
Everi will continue to extend the financial transaction suite, offering more ways for their patrons to access funds. On the hardware side, the CXC-Lite will soon debut to fill a role with route market operators.
On the software side, the new UX flows improve process and approval times. A refreshed UI also improves the customer experience. Simmons says the company sees a bright future filled with innovation and cutting-edge features to meet operator and patron needs.
Newsom is also bullish on the future.
“Just as we deliver advanced kiosks as stand-alone solutions, integrate them across the floor and casino (and beyond), enable integrations into patrons’ phones, and enable channel choice to the patron, Everi will continue to bring services to people when, where and how they are needed,” he says. “As we revealed at G2E this year, this includes direct-to-consumer enablement programs.”
“An advanced kiosk simply refers to a kiosk solution that goes beyond the normal capabilities traditionally offered by self-service solutions,” says Chris Justice, CEO of Pavilion Payments.
“While a normal kiosk solution may offer ATM and TITO technology, an advanced kiosk offers casino patrons e-check and cash advance services. This gives patrons greater control over more sophisticated services, improves the payment experience and helps keep patrons on the casino floor.”
Justice considers this evolution a product of innovation and market demand. Kiosks are impressive on their own, but their increased significance hinges on the ability to take on another role.
“As payments technology across the board has become more sophisticated, casino operators have come to expect more from their self-service solutions,” he says. “Three to five years ago, casino operators only needed the bare minimum from kiosk technology, but now it’s become crucial for kiosk solutions to integrate with the wider payments ecosystem.”
Pavilion merges physical and virtual technology as a guiding philosophy across all its products, including its kiosk solutions. The company’s 360-degree integration creates a fully unified payments experience for the patrons while providing a multitude of benefits for casino operators, Justice asserts.
Its kiosk solution, VIP Financial Center, allows casino patrons to access the company’s industry-standard e-check/ACH network, VIP Preferred, which vastly improves the payments experience. VIP Financial Center is just one part of Pavilion’s vertically integrated payments ecosystem, which makes the transfer of funds from one level to any other as seamless as possible.
Justice touts the synergy between VIP Financial Center and VIP Preferred.
“The integration between VIP Financial Center and VIP Preferred is
really the linchpin of our self-service solutions, giving patrons immediate access to their funds while on the casino floor,” he indicates. “This allows patrons to have fast access to the services they need without taking the time to wait at the cage. This also means that patrons and casino operators have access to all the services offered by VIP Preferred, like our 24/7, local customer service and enhanced security.
“These kiosk centers seamlessly bridge all patrons’ virtual and physical gaming experiences,” he says. “Patrons have the flexibility and convenience of using the VIP Financial Center in person or utilizing VIP Mobility for quick access to their funds to decrease the amount of time waiting in line at the cage. By designing all its solutions to build on each other, Pavilion Payments’ vertically integrated solutions strategically deliver a convenient experience making it efficient and impactful for operators and patrons alike.”
The combined impact of the two solutions forms just one part of the vertically integrated payment ecosystem that the company has built, he indicates.
“Our vertically integrated technology ensures reliability and high uptime, providing operators with the confidence that their systems will remain operational at all times,” according to Justice.
“All our kiosks feature enclosed bill paths, a discreet PIN pad location, enhanced privacy screens and anti-skimming protection. As payments technology becomes more advanced, patrons have come to expect more and more from their payments processes. Our VIP Financial Center provides a new level of dependability, which translates into enhanced patron experiences, as players can enjoy uninterrupted game play and swift, secure transactions,” he adds.
By prioritizing key factors like reliability and uptime, Pavilion Payments enables operators to build trust with their clientele and drive patron loyalty, resulting in increased satisfaction and repeat business, Justice maintains.
Being an innovator in the kiosk realm is equally as important as ensuring operators have all the resources needed to ensure kiosk operations are functioning, he maintains.
Pavilion Payments’ Infinity Cassette Exchange (ICE) program features real-time device monitoring and cage alerts if a mechanical problem or potential cash drawer failure is detected. Furthermore, patented picking design enables worn cash drawers to be quickly and easily replaced with minimal downtime, Justice asserts. This program ensures a worn cash drawer doesn’t bring the operator’s TITO operations to a halt.
Throughout the industry, advanced kiosks maintain extensive prominence. There are at least two drivers to this movement. For starters, there’s a growing customer segment becoming more familiar with the general use of kiosks. Their trust pendulum swings in favor of relying on technology rather than worrying about system glitches. Second, people demand speed. If a kiosk can provide it, the technology creates a satisfied customer.
Nothing beats human interaction, with a casino employee greeting a customer by name. People view that as a nice perk. They view the advanced kiosk as a prerequisite.
That’s why the best companies serving this end of the casino-customer equation will be sought out.